Shoplifting may seem to be a minor offense, especially when it involves a low-cost item such as a bottle of nail polish or an inexpensive item of clothing. However, such an offense could negatively impact a person’s future and potentially their ability to find future employment.
Job applications commonly ask if a person has been previously convicted of any crimes of dishonesty. Typically withholding the truth or lying about such offenses may also be considered a legal offense. In short, shoplifting convictions can be detrimental to someone’s future employment opportunities and may instantly disqualify a person from consideration.
Speaking to an Amarillo shoplifting lawyer could substantially help a person who is facing a shoplifting charge. Contact a reliable defense attorney who can help fight the charge.
Defining a Shoplifting Offense
Shoplifting typically falls under the classification of theft in the state of Texas. Under Texas Penal Code Section 31.03, individuals commit theft when they “unlawfully appropriate property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” While most people think of shoplifting as simply removing merchandise from a store without paying for it, there are many other circumstances that could constitute shoplifting as well.
For instance, switching price tags on items in a store to pay a lower price for an item typically falls within the category of shoplifting. The same is true for concealing an item in a purse or in one’s clothing.
Generally, it is not necessary to leave the store with merchandise that has not been paid for to commit a shoplifting offense. Many times, if the intent was to remove the items from the store without paying for them, then there may be a chance that shoplifting charges could be filed.
Given the broad nature of Texas theft law, it is not necessary to for an individual to physically commit the act of shoplifting in order to be held criminally responsible for the offense. This means that if an individual facilitated the shoplifting in any way, such as by acting as a look-out for the person who is doing the shoplifting, that individual could be charged as well. Additionally, this may include someone who intended to aid or assist another person in shoplifting.
Common Legal Consequences in Amarillo
The penalties for shoplifting in the state of Texas may depend on the value of the items involved in the alleged incident. Texas Penal Code Section 31.03(e) provides that shoplifting involving property with a value of under $100 may be regarded as a Class C misdemeanor. Such an offense frequently does not carry a jail sentence but may contain a fine up to $500. This section also stipulates that shoplifting could become a Class B misdemeanor if any of the following apply:
- The value of the property involved is more than $100, but less than $750
- The value of the property involved is less than $100, but the individual has a previous theft conviction
- The property involved is a driver’s license or personal identification certified issued by the state of Texas or any other state
Penalties for Misdemeanors
A Class B misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and $2,000 in fines, or both. Furthermore, if the value of the items involved in the shoplifting is more than $750, but less than $2,500, the offense could be considered a Class A misdemeanor. Such an offense may result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and fines up to $4,000, or both.
Because these penalties can be severe, anyone charged with shoplifting should consider hiring a qualified Amarillo shoplifting attorney for help. An Amarillo shoplifting lawyer should have the knowledge needed to combat these charges in and out of court.
Asking an Amarillo Shoplifting Attorney for Help
Although shoplifting is typically a non-violent offense, it is still regarded as a criminal violation. As a result, repercussions for a conviction may become substantial and negatively influence a person’s future. Contact a skilled Amarillo shoplifting lawyer to begin fighting the charge and developing an effective legal strategy.